Post by Michael Messer on Jan 1, 2008 17:41:37 GMT
I recently downloaded the new remastered Robert Johnson catalogue. It is available online both as an mp3 download and as a proper high quality audio CD. The remastering has been done by Andrew Rose at a company called SARL Pristine Audio, in France. The system Andrew has used is a whole new approach to remastering & cleaning up old 78 recordings. The system is called Pristine Audio XR, which I think was developed by Andrew Rose.
Well to cut a long story short and get to the point; Andrew's work is very good and anyone interested in RJ's music should have a listen to these remasters. I downloaded the mp3s and now I have ordered the proper CDs, as I am sure they will sound a lot better than compressed mp3s.
I was around a lot of remastering of 78s when I was with Catfish Records and I definitely think Andrew Rose has found an interesting way forward. I have been listening to RJ for nearly four decades and this is the most impressive sounding remastered release to date. The only way to improve on this new release would be to work from very clean original 78s. Which in my opinion, would be well worth the effort.
Some of the remastered tracks sound like they were recorded a decade or so later. An excellent job!
Post by Michael Messer on Jan 1, 2008 19:01:31 GMT
The best Son House remasters I know of were released by Catfish and Revenant. The Revenant stuff is on the Charlie Patton 'Screamin & Hollering the Blues' big box set. The Catfish album is 'Preachin the Blues'.
There may well be some new remasters out since the Catfish one was released in 1999, but I haven't heard any of them to comment on their remastering.
This new technique that Andrew Rose has developed is different to anything else that has been done so far. The removal of clicks & surface noise is not the main point of this technique. XR remastering works on the actual sound of the recordings and re EQs the instruments by comparing them to frequencies made by similar instruments. In other words (I think...?) it kind of models the sound of each instrument - in Robert Johnson's case...just guitar & voice. The EQing & compression that is being used in this XR mastering is very clever and does create a very realistic effect. I wouldn't say every track is a total success, but the ones that are.....will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! The other great thing about these remasters is that Andrew has got them all pretty close to their correct pitch. This in itself has helped make the recordings sound clearer. Get them.....you won't regret it.
I am not advertizing on their behalf. Advertizing is not permitted on this forum. I just want to spread the word about this great new innovation and I know of a lot of RJ fans on this forum.
Having listened to the sound samples on the web site I have to agree that these are the best re masters I've heard. I've experimented with cleaning up 78s with the basic tools found in Wavelab with limited success, but it has shown me the side effects that such processes create and can now hear them in many of the commercial releases, most noticeably on Catfish's "The Definitive Charley Patton" box set. These Robert Johnson sound samples however, show none of these deficiencies.
Post by Michael Messer on Jan 1, 2008 23:48:05 GMT
When I first signed with Catfish Records in 2000 and started hearing theirs and various other companies remasters, I was very impressed. However, after a couple of years and getting to know the ins and outs of how it all worked, I became less impressed. As we know, things move on very quickly and at the time of the Charlie Patton release what everyone was looking for was a clean 'no surface noise or clicks' sound. To achieve that, something had to suffer and sadly it was the music that did. I think the record company pushed the mastering studio too hard on that one and some of the tracks were over done. But to be fair, at the time the media both here & in the US applauded Catfish for their incredible work. Time moves on and this XR method of remastering is a whole new approach.
Post by steadyrollinman on Jan 1, 2008 23:58:26 GMT
Hi Michael, thanks for the info. I checked the site out and am very impressed at how good these tracks sound. A nice start to the new year.
About a year ago I also found a company here in the UK called Touched Productions. They sell a selection of RJ's tracks, cleaned up and slowed down. Gone is the high register voice and you hear a much deeper voice, and the guitar is almost in open G not A as we all thought. www.touched.co.uk worth a look.
Also, at your last workshop, you mentioned you intended to make another teaching DVD aimed at intermediate to advanced playing techniques and repertoire. Is there a release date yet?
Best wishes for new year.
"The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National Guitar"
I've been enjoying the RJ on CD for a few days - inevitably Mr Rose is getting inundated with suggestions for further artists to work his magic on; I'd certainly like to hear how Charlie Patton would sound - it's so exasperating how much of the great music was on those crappy Paramount discs ..
I heard the remasters you mention. They were slowed down too much. Andrew Rose (from what I have read) set the pitch by analysing and correcting the background electrical hum on the tracks before removing or filtering it. So I believe these remasters are now at the correct pitch and the music sounds better for it. I still only have the mp3s and they sound amazing, so I look forward to hearing a real wav on a CD.
Regarding the DVD - No dates at present, but 'm working on it.
Hi, I downloaded the FLAC versions which is a lossless format, but costs 2 euros more than the MP3s. I thought it was worth it to get CD quality. I also had to download a decoder to get Media Player to play the files and software (free) to burn them onto CD.
Post by Michael Messer on Jan 2, 2008 14:07:20 GMT
This is some information I have copied from Pristine's website
Non-Linear 78rpm recordings - a problem never before solved
We all know when we're listening to an old recording - surface noise, limited frequency response and other defects of the recording methods of the 78rpm era are all instant indicators of this. But there is one other, crucial defect of these recordings which, until now, has never been either addressed or solved.
An ideal recording system has a flat frequency response. In other words it should represent exactly the volume levels of all frequencies to create a perfect representation of the original sound. A poor recording system has a non-linear frequency response. It imposes level changes at different frequencies which distort the sound recording and make it sound unnatural. With most 78s we're looking at not just a poor recording system, but one which in many cases was both highly non-linear, and highly unpredictable.
Limited frequency range - a problem never before solved
The Natural Sound technique, as outlined above, appears to leave one major stone unturned - the frequency range of older recordings. Until now this has been realistically limited to a maximum of around 6kHz..
Pristine's eXtended Range recordings can effectively double this.
Most people have assumed that there was nothing else of value above around 5-6kHz on electrically recorded 78s, that all that was left was noise. This is not the case - the music is there, but so buried in the noise as to be practically inaudible and unretrieveable - until now.
Finally a system has been developed to extract these frequencies from the noise and, in conjunction with our Natural Sound technique, restore them to their proper balance.
The sonic effect is a revelation - for us this is the holy grail of sound restoration!
I heard the remasters you mention. They were slowed down too much. Andrew Rose (from what I have read) set the pitch by analysing and correcting the background electrical hum on the tracks before removing or filtering it...
Shine On Michael
Now that is very clever! It has to answer all those questions about 78 recording speeds on the original recordings. I'm going to have me a set of those CDs
wow that was the first time i really felt 'the full hit of the fruit' from Robbert Johnson. i've just finished a book by Elijah Wald called 'Escaping the Delta' which has given me an insight into the era and the music that would have surounded Robert Johnson during his life. and hearing this remasterd work has really placed the cherry on the to.